Press Conference Held on the Occasion of the 52nd BEMUS in the City Assembly


On Monday, October 19, a press conference was held on the occasion of the announcement of the 52nd Belgrade Music Festival – BEMUS organized by the Belgrade Festivals Centre – CEBEF


Ivan Karl, City Secretary for Culture, first addressed the audience, commenting on how some of the events that year had been postponed or canceled due to the epidemic. He stated that, in addition to the fact that gathering that day had been organized in order to announce the programme of one of the most important city festivals, we had to be aware that it was possible for the Festival to be moved, taking into account that the epidemiological situation changed from week to week. He emphasized that it had been planned to hold most of the concerts at Kolarac as a sign of support for this institution. Ivan Karl also drew attention to the fact that many artists who had been contacted and had confirmed their participation at the 52nd BEMUS might be unable to travel due to objective reasons, so if that happened, BEMUS would be held in a reshaped form or the most creative way would be found for the programme to be held with changed date and time.


Damir Handanović, Director of CEBEF, said that not much would be said on behalf of CEBEF, but that efforts would be made to hold the events in accordance with the prescribed measures. He said that the planned launch of the Festival was on November 1 and that it would last until November 13. He announced that the start of ticket sales for BEMUS began the next day, noting that the interest of the audience existed, with the information that the money would be returned if it became impossible to hold the Festival’s programme. He also stated that the measures of the Crisis Staff in terms of the limited number of concert visitors certainly had to be respected, which meant that the capacity of the hall would be reduced.


Bojan Sudjić, Artistic Director of the Festival, shared with the audience that serious preparations of 2020 BEMUS had been made since the end of the previous edition of the Festival, and that the wish had been to boldly announce and present the result of joint work of the Artistic Director and the CEBEF Board. He pointed out that BEMUS should represent the most important event of classical music in Belgrade, especially in Serbia, and should incorporate its experiences and its great history into each new edition of BEMUS. He announced that several stars were planned to perform at the Festival: Marta Argeric, one of the living legends of classical music, who confirmed her arrival together with conductor Luis Gorelik.
Speaking about the programme, he pointed out that Beethoven's anniversary had not not gone according to plan anywhere in the world, and that it would be represented at BEMUS that year, permeating the programme of the entire event. Sudjic further announced the performance of one of the world's most important dramatic sopranos of the last decade, Maria Guleghina, at the Madlenianum Opera and Theatre. In addition to this opera place at the Festival, he also announced an interesting performance of the opera Tosca in jazz arrangement by the Big Band. In cooperation with the Guitar Art Festival, the concert of 40 Fingers in Kombank Hall, as well as the great Hungarian pianist Dénes Várjon as part of the Stanway season, showed that BEMUS was recognized as an integrative festival that brought together other festivals.
At the recommendation of violinist Jovan Kolundzija, a member of the BEMUS Board, we would listen to the impressive violinist Soyoung Yoon from South Korea, accompanied by pianist Maria Herring from Germany.
As for the ethno music, Sudjic mentioned the performance of the Teofilovic Brothers, who were very popular. He further referred to the concert which represented the cooperation with the NOMUS festival, with the performance of the quintet of the same name. The Zagreb soloists would be led by violinist Sreten Krstić, who was also the favorite concertmaster of the Munich Philharmonic, and they would be joined at the concert by the famous flutist Irena Grafenauer, one of Belgrade's favorite artists. Sudjic then mentioned the concert of the reduced RTS Symphony Orchestra with the great pianist Jasminka Stancul, who would perform Beethoven's music.
He made a special announcement of one of the world's greatest tenors, José Cura, who would perform for the first time in Serbia with the ensemble of the Serbian National Theatre from Novi Sad and many soloists. The Festival would be closed with the performance of Mozart's compositions by the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Hans Graf.


Milan Lazović, President of the Festival Board, reminded that BEMUS was an event of special importance for the culture of Belgrade as well as Serbia, and that each BEMUS individually entered the annals of cultural and musical life of the city and the country. He believes that 2020 BEMUS will be remembered especially due to the conditions imposed by the pandemic. Lazović gave credit to everyone, the Board, the Artistic Director, the Director of CEBEF, the City Secretary for their great work, persistence and desire to hold the Festival in difficult conditions.


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